Textile Society of America




Date of this Version



Silk Roads, Other Roads: Proceedings of the 8th Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, September 26-28, 2002, Northampton, Massachusetts


Copyright 2002 by the author.


Silk Roads, Other Roads, the Eighth Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, was held September 26-28, 2002 at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Anthropologists, archeologists, artists, art historians, conservators, curators, designers, historians, and other professionals contributed to the rich and varied program featuring silk and other textiles around the world and through time. Topics included archaeology along the silk road; textile artisans and sustainable development; textiles along the spice routes; acculturation; silk in medieval Europe; silk production in mainland Southeast Asia; the American silk industry and, more generally, its textile industry; Andean textiles; silk traditions in Japan; new directions in silk fabric design; trade in Asia. This Proceedings, the first in the TSA Symposium series to appear on CD ROM, contains the texts of these juried presentations.

The TSA 2002 Symposium also featured a keynote lecture each day (not included here): Francesca Bray, Professor of Anthropology at the University of California at Santa Barbara, on “Womanly Work: ideals and realities of textile production in Imperial China,” Daryl Hafter, Professor of History at Eastern Michigan University and President of the Society for the History of Technology, on “Women, Cloth & Politics in Lyon’s Eighteenth-Century Silk Industry,” and members of the Northampton Silk Project Steering Committee on their town-wide six-year study of Northampton's silk industry.

The Symposium's opening reception, held at Historic Northampton in conjunction with the opening of an exhibition of its silk costume collection, was followed by a Gallery Walk through town that introduced Symposium participants to Northampton’s many galleries, shops, and restaurants. Participants also enjoyed several other exhibitions related to the Symposium: new directions in silk fabrics, images of silk and silk production in rare books, rare handwoven Burmese silks (and a Burmese loom), and restored photographs of Northampton's Nonotuck Silk Company. Pre-conference and post-conference tours included the Hancock Shaker Village, the Clark Institute in Williamstown, the Athenaeum in Hartford, the Textile History Museum in Lowell, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Mead Museum at Amherst College, the Museum of Fine Arts in Springfield, Northampton's historic silk sites, and a nearby fiber farm.

It is a pleasure to thank Marilyn Smith, the Northampton Silk Project coordinator and this Symposium's sine qua non, and our tireless Symposium committee members, Ute Bargmann, Diane Fagan-Affleck, Joan Hastings, Karen Herbaugh, Linda McIntosh, and Kiki Smith. Barbara Blumenthal organized and ran a very popular three-day Book Fair, and Amelia Hough-Ross ably assisted with the preparation of these Proceedings.